January 28, 2021 Buzzy Lee – Spoiled Love (Album Review)
Let’s just get this out of the way: Buzzy Lee is the pseudonym of Sasha Spielberg, daughter of the legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg. But this talented singer-songwriter has so much more to offer than just a prime pedigree, and she proves this with her debut LP, Spoiled Love, which arrives on Friday, January 29, 2021 thanks to Future Classic.
Fitting, because this siren is a future classic! With her April 2018 debut EP, Facepaint, Lee established herself beyond Los Angeles, allowing the world to experience her inspired energy. Raised with an appreciation for the artful, her initial success was due, in part, to the stand-out track “Cool Hand.” This paved the way for an opening slot on the Dirty Projectors’ 2018 tour, as well as the Tommy Mandel collaborative single “Close Encounters of Their Own Kind” in 2019. Conquering the Pitchfork Paris Festival and Barcelona’s Primavera Club only added to her star profile.
Now, with her trajectory pitched steeply upward, Lee continues to collaborate with long-time friend and renowned Producer Nicolas Jaar for her full-length debut, Spoiled Love. A collection that was conceived amid the aftermath of two break-ups, the nine-track LP is a gorgeously haunting ode to a melancholic mood laced with elegant Synthpop and Lee’s ethereal vocal performance.
Spoiled Love opens to piano paired with Lee’s whisper-soft vocals as she flutters into the titular track. With a minimalism that is big on emotional heft, she echoes her own words in a stirring performance that calls to mind the likes of Tori Amos and Florence Welch, as well as Agnes Obel’s “Familiar.” But she doesn’t linger in any one moment for long, shifting into the tender gloom of “Brie,” a succinct instrumental.
What follows toys with the listener, shifting moods to explore a personal landscape of candid content—from the powerful “Rules” to the soulful swagger hidden within the layers of the toxic “What Has a Man Done,” to the funky bass and uptempo swing of “Strange Town.” Some listeners will love the experimental effects placed on Lee’s voice in tracks such as “Circles,” while others will prefer her untouched performance. But it’s easy to see that she can, in fact, sing, and the accoutrements are merely a blast of artistic seasoning—not an attempt to hide any flaws.
There too are the rapturous moments, like the zenful, repetitive sonic textures in “Mendonoma,” an instrumental that cleanses as it relaxes. This foreshadowed balance is then found in “High On You,” as she touches on a perfectly entrancing beat, before reaching the grand finale, “All The While.” A reflective piano and vocal composition, it ends Spoiled Love with a sound that resonates long after Lee has offered her very last lyric and the electronic atmospherics have faded to silence.
Underproduced, raw experimentation with sonic textures and deeply personal emotions, Lee’s debut joyfully ignores genre in favor of authenticity. While some have compared the singer-songwriter to the likes of Kate Bush, Haim, and Lykke Li, on Spoiled Love, she is divergent; culling together her eclectic influences to craft her own musical identity. With the tips of her wings delicately dusted in Synthpop, she soars through poetic lyrics, glittering piano accompaniments, and deeply evocative atmospheric additions. In many ways she walks a line that one might compare to the likes of the aforementioned Obel: intentionally understated but masterful nonetheless. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Lee’s debut 4 of 5 stars.